WI can 'surprise', says former skipper
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):
Outstanding former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, has cautioned critics not to write of the Caribbean side's World Cup chances just yet.
The Windies have been given little hope of winning cricket's biggest prize, against the backdrop of their poor run of recent form and the number-eight ranking in one-day international (ODI) cricket.
However, Lloyd argued that several underdogs - including the West Indies in the inaugural tournament in 1975 - had already won the World Cup and said once the Caribbean side gelled their performances they could pose a threat.
"When I see the players here, they must feel proud to be here. This is the showpiece of cricket. I want to see them happy, I want to see them go out there and give their all - blood and guts - because if they win this World Cup, I know a lot of people don't give us a chance, but you never know," said Lloyd, who was at the helm when West Indies won in 1975 and again in 1979.
"We weren't supposed to be winners in 1975, Pakistan were not supposed to be the winners in Melbourne (1992), India weren't supposed to be the winners (1983) and they came out of a situation where Zimbabwe had them 80 for seven (in a group stage match) and Kapil Dev played a masterful innings."
West Indies are coming off a 4-1 drubbing in a five-match series against South Africa and also slumped to an embarrassing nine-wicket defeat to England in their first official warm-up match for the World Cup last Monday.
The side is also missing the likes of senior all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard and is being led by newly installed captain Jason Holder, himself a newcomer to international cricket.
Lloyd, the current chairman of selectors, said, however, West Indies could defy the pundits and produce good results.
"You never can tell. We have talented cricketers. If we can just get it together, we can give a good account of ourselves and surprise a lot of people," he stressed.
West Indies faced Scotland in their second warm-up game last night, before taking on Ireland next Monday in their opening group stage fixture at Saxton Oval in Nelson, New Zealand.
They will also clash with defending champions India, South Africa, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates in a tough Group B campaign.